Many employers are now becoming aware of their pension auto-enrolment compliance staging date. The ‘staging date ‘ is the date by which an employer must have a pension scheme in place and the date from which the employer must ‘auto-enrol’ qualifying workers.
It should be noted that an employer can request to delay its ‘staging date’ for compliance but if an employer wants to invoke this option it must follow the necessary procedures and liaise with the pension regulator.
According to recent survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) many employers are struggling with selecting a pension provider and a suitable pension scheme.
One of the most important factors, employers should investigate and evaluate when selecting a pension scheme provider, is the fee structure that will apply. In our experience there is a considerable disparity in the fees charged between pension providers. Employers should therefore ensure when selecting a provider, that they are clear on the fees that will apply. Employers should also note that if considering using an existing stakeholder pension scheme, which can be migrated to an auto enrolment compliant pension scheme, that the fee structure may alter or additional fees may apply. It would be prudent therefore for an employer to verify any fee structure that may apply if using an existing provider.
It is also worth noting that the Pension Regulator has the power to request records of the strategic rationale applied in regard to pension provision. It is clear, from the regulations that employers must ensure that any pension scheme vehicle and provider meets the pension auto enrolment compliance criteria. What is not clear, at this stage, is the extent to which employers may be required to carry out any due diligence beyond this. Clearly when evaluating a provider an employer may wish to consider factors such as the investment performance of the provider, the financial strength and longevity of the provider and the range of funds available.
A further factor to consider for employers when selecting a pension provider is the ease of operating the scheme given the profile of the workforce. Some scheme providers provide accessible, easy to navigate on-line access enabling both employees and those operating the scheme on behalf of the employer to action changes to the scheme. Where the profile of the workforce is such that often employees work remotely and are computer literate, an on-line self-service portal can meet the needs of employees well and reduce the time and administrative costs of running the scheme for employers. Employers need to consider that to ensure on-going compliance of the scheme, this will necessitate an on-going administrative obligation and therefore ease of access and seamless integration between systems should be considered carefully. It is useful to point out that some providers’ software does integrate better with payroll systems.
Some pension providers also provide pension auto-enrolment membership confirmation certificates thus reducing the administration burden for the employer.
In order to support clients with pension auto-enrolment compliance, HR First has developed a comprehensive pension auto-enrolment support service. Our pension partners are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that we are able to offer clients access to wider range of pension products. Our pension partners are not tied to any pension provider or product so any advice or product recommendations are based on an impartial evaluation of the provider and product offering and the needs of the client.
If you would like help with pension auto- enrolment please call HR First on 01962 676167 or register your details here.Last updated: September 15, 2017 at 15:17 pm